Streetwear and it's many influences across the world
Posted on 15 November 2017
Urban wear is a term that has taken the fashion world by storm; streetwear referring to a particular type of urbanised fashion. It's ancestry roots from skate and surf culture, and takes it's influence from subcultures such as punk and hip-hop or gangster, whilst also embracing ideas based around high end fashion and Japanese couture.
RELATED: The History of Urban Streetwear
Streetwear is an innovative trend, for not only does it embody past fashion trends, but adapts to current pop-culture, merging different styles to create a fresh and revolutionary look.
Progressively, Streetwear has taken inspiration from punk, rock & metal outlets. The revival of Vans/Thrasher as branded skate-wear advocates that 90s and early naughties fashions are having a huge comeback. With modernized versions of such footwear available worldwide it is obvious that punk culture is at linkage to urban wear. Another link between streetwear and the punk subculture is through 80s-90s rocker necessities, the return of ripped jeans, heavy use of denim and flanneled shirts, alongside printed 'metal' shirts; e.g artists wearing band t-shirts who they may never have heard of.
Focusing on the nineties as a decade, another notable influence for urban wear is hip-hop fashion and gangster culture. 'Bling' or exaggerated, in your face jewellery is incorporated throughout many urban looks. Throughout the nineties many RnB and hip hop artists sported both platinum and gold, whilst also embedding clothing & jewellery with diamanté. This style has been adapted into modern streetwear through the re-introduction of grills, and 'bling' looks.
Another ghetto inspired trend that's recently emerged is the rise of revert jerseys. Sports styled jerseys were hugely popular in 90's hip hop fashion as shown by famous artists such as Will Smith or Tupac. Another substantial trend inspired by hip-hop is bright, neon coloured clothing and baseball caps. A 90's trend popular with the ladies, and re-introduced today is over-sized clothing, layered over tight fitting bras or tops. This almost androgynous look, and proves that clothing does not have to be tight-fitting in order to be deemed feminine or sexy. An important, character-defining facet of streetwear is that looks are often layered up and created from baggy, shapeless looks. This not only is look-defining, but allows wearers to feel comfort and convenience throughout their day to day, whilst looking effortless, laid-back and cool.
Japanese street fashion not only inspires streetwear, but has created countless looks and is held in great esteem throughout Japan, not to mention that the inspiration world-wide brands have taken from Japanese couture is astounding. Looks such as 'Decora' began in the nineties and is popularised through till this day. Decora tends to pair cute, pastel-baby colours with black, and may also incorporate neon colours. A plain shirt, jumper, or top, usually dark in colour and perhaps 'grunge' looking is paired with tutu skirts, or flowing trousers or shorts. Although this look may be more popular in woman, it has slowly revolutionised, and now in-corporates looks for both sexes.
Notably however, streetwear is held in esteem for not differentiating between genders, and is considered on the whole to be uni-sex. Bōsōzoku fashion is another notable, cultured look that has dispersed worldwide. Typically a jumpsuit is worn, with little or nothing underneath, but may also subject a logo or brand peeking through. This look began as a caricature in Japanese media shown in comics and films, but slowly reworked its way to be a signature piece that has inspired many urban looks.
High end fashion, or luxury brands have not only inspired streetwear, but have also incorporated urbanised looks into their own lines.The fall of formal wear has inevitably create a rise of high-end streetwear fashion. Taking typical looks but replacing cotton, wool or polystyrene with fabrics such as satin, silk, velvet and leather (among others) creates a stylistic blend of the high end and streetwear.
This look is considered to be extremely desirable and has led to both ridiculous and convincing knock-offs, allowing those with any budget to indulge into the latest high end urbanised looks. Not only have luxury designers incorporated sporty looks, but may pair punk influence with street style to create unique pieces. E.g the revival of chains worn as accessory to jeans and tracksuits, once deemed 'rebellious' or even 'trashy' now succeeds in designer looks, taken inspiration from a root of streetwear; punk.
Arguably, surf/skate culture are the parents of urbanised streetwear. Inspired by each activity, and the easy-going lifestyle depicted by both; skate-surf wear popularized casual clothing. For example, stylized trainers, considered iconic symbols of skateboarders have now become mainstream, conventional items. Certain styles of shoes identify with then skater sub-culture, once created specifically for function, to enhance the skateboarding experience, are now dubbed purely for fashion purposes.
True of both skating and surfing, signatures of skilled boarders would sign surf-boards and skateboards in the same sloppy fashion that appears on brand favorites. Pictures depicted on boards, now found themselves on clothing, and slowly a surf-skate fashion sub-culture would arise. Shoes, socks and graphic t-shirts are the most notable influences mirrored in contemporary streetwear.
All in all, many of the looks discussed, ripped jeans, grills, jumpsuits are not new on the scene. They are however signs that urbanized looks or streetwear takes prior trends and recycles them into new, evolved looks. What started as mere skateboarding trainers and hip-hop trends has now grown to be one of the most contemporary styles this century is yet to offer. Incorporating vintage looks, whilst including modernized, futuristic detail, streetwear is forever moving, forever changing.
The various sub-cultures surrounding the genre, the mainstream celebrities, and artists rocking the look equates a diehard fan base, with a mass of people looking to include looks into their own wardrobes. Streetwear concurs both ends of the budget, allowing some to indulge in designer urban wear, whilst others can create similar styles through DIY or cheaper knock-off brands.
Streetwear is not only influenced by a whole range of genre, but has created its own fashion, its own culture, and own following of people. By collectivizing a range of looks, streetwear has flourished, becoming entirely its own, revolutionized style.
Featured Author: Holly Andrew is a fun-loving expat, from London to Sydney. For enquiries and all things travel, fashion & lifestyle email firstname.lastname@example.org
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